Purdue University Northwest’s (PNW) College of Business and College of Technology hosted 12 finalists on April 30 during the 11th annual PNW Big Sell pitch competition, sponsored by the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), where the top three winners were announced.
Richard Christakes was awarded first place and $10,000 for his business, Ship My Plants, which matches plant enthusiasts with the closest possible sellers based on geolocation. The business model is intended to minimize stress on plants, save shipping time and costs and reduce carbon emissions.
The pair of Drew Jarvis and Cindy Belardo took home second place and $3,000 for their product, Sunny Cup, a reusable feminine hygiene product that is lower in cost, better for the environment and free from harmful chemicals and dyes, when compared to similar feminine hygiene products on the market.
Dan Durochik received third place and $1,000 for Alert Lift, an automatic garage door opener with an integrated carbon monoxide detector. The device would detect high levels of carbon monoxide and trigger a garage to open and ventilate. Durochik is a 1986 PNW alumnus who earned a bachelor’s degree in Managerial Studies.
The 12 finalists delivered six-minute pitches to a three-member panel of judges. The panel included entrepreneurs who won awards in past PNW Big Sell competitions.